I have this vague, partially-suppressed memory of Riley’s 18-month stage being really tough — the tantruming, the half-assed mobility, the inability to communicate — but hoo boy, Dylan’s either an early achiever or he’s going to be absolutely intolerable in a few more months, because at one year and change this child is siphoning away my will to live on a daily basis. Our good-natured butterball has been replaced by a mercurial creature whose moods fluctuate wildly based on such mission-critical variables as the amount of milk sloshing around in his round belly, the precise alignment of the planets, and the accessibility of the television remote. He still laughs easily and is quick to flash his ladykiller grins at the things that delight him — his brother, the cat (“gee gah!”), his parents crawling around acting like damn fools in an attempt to distract and entertain — but his forays into the Land of Contentment are achingly brief, not nearly long enough to enjoy a full cup of coffee or empty the dishwasher or go check Twitter in hopes of hearing news from Jonniker.

He is in a high-maintenance stage for sure, and if he’s not howling or furtively attempting to swallow a shoelace or managing to shake every last drop of milk from bottle to carpet, he’s falling facefirst into sharp wooden objects in the amount of time it takes to blink an eye.

3330418286_eebea5eb55.jpg

Immediately after this happened I saw a giant cut flap of skin on his nose turn white and for a moment I thought it was EXPOSED BONE and I DIED. Then it started oozing blood and I was all, whew! And then I was all, OH MY GOD.

It was our entertainment stand that he fell into, and I’m starting to wonder if the thing has got some kind of Christine taste-of-flesh demon vibe going on because Riley had just fallen backwards into it not 12 hours before, giving himself a massive lump on the back of the head. No one’s hurt themselves on this thing before, so . . . I don’t know. I’ve got my eye on you, Shelfy.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but babies have weirdly sped-up healing abilities for things like cuts and bruises and Dylan already looks much better, but then just this morning I observed him crawling under the kitchen table, attempting to stand up, smashing his skull into the bottom of the table surface, then doing it AGAIN, HARDER — wailing all the while — before I managed to drag him out of there. Babies = the ultimate fail.

It’s definitely frustrating to be constantly chasing, soothing, and generally trying to figure out what in the blue fuck is wrong. Is he hungry? Tired? Teething? Disappointed by the lack of talent on this year’s American Idol? Humiliated because daycare sent him home in this astounding shirt yesterday, thanks to his loser parents forgetting to bring in extra clothes?

3332640370_404388bbb2.jpg

But I also feel bad for Riley. I mean, he loves his brother and they spend a lot of time playing together, but by necessity it seems like Dylan sucks up most of our attention and Riley is constantly being told to hang on, just a minute, you’ll get your juice when I’m finished feeding Dylan, etc. Or worse — and this is hard to admit — my patience is often stretched paper-thin by the whining baby and the barrage of “whys” and “but I waaaaaaaant tos” from the 3-year-old send me flying right over some kind of edge and I bark TO YOUR ROOM! at Riley when in fact I would like VERY much to send DYLAN to his room.

Ah, none of this is easy. I don’t know. I know I could be doing better, but I hope I’m doing okay. I hope both my kids know how much I love them, and how rich and stupidly blessed I feel as their mother. If there are moments when everything seems shrill and brittle and on the verge of complete disaster, there are so many more when it simply doesn’t seem as if there is enough room in the world for all the good things I have at hand.

3330418286_eebea5eb55_1.jpg

Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
69 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jenn
13 years ago

I can’t decide what’s funnier about the shirt–the ‘big sister’ part or the bow…good thing he can’t read yet!

hilary
hilary
13 years ago

Ok, I fell over laughing when I saw Dylan in that shirt. My daughter has that shirt (a gift, of course), and it’s astounding even on an actual big sister. Do you think the daycare people put it on him in an evil attempt to amuse themselves? Is this what constitutes a daycare prank?

That’s the best photo I’ve ever seen. Oh, and I too find myself snapping at my 3 1/2 year old when my 9 month old is trying my patience. And I hate myself for doing it.

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

Heh. My best friend has a 13 day old baby, and as the kid was screaming it’s ever loving head off, she looked at her and said “You know what? Get a job, and then you’ll REALLY have something to cry about. Please!” And the my friend backed away in horror at how quickly she went from “loving mother” to “shut the hell up”. It was kind of awesome to watch.

Ah, babies. The ultimate pyramid scheme.

Kristin
Kristin
13 years ago

That first picture of Dylan? I really, REALLY thought it was an old shot of Riley. Glad the little guy is ok.

Nichole
13 years ago

Poor fella. That nose looks painful.

However. I can’t look at that shirt without laughing.

Tiffany
Tiffany
13 years ago

I feel bad for my 3yr old too. Sometimes I think she acts out because I have to put her “on hold” due to my 15 mo old son. It’s SO FRUSTRATING at times that I just get so overwhelmed but I have the (sorry to say this) this to shall pass moment and I try to give them more of my ever dwindling patience.

And can I just say, bless you mothers of TWO sons because my ONE son is going to drive me to do things that are unmentionable. bless you

Hillary
13 years ago

Oh man! That T-shirt from daycare is just too funny.

But don’t feel too badly. All the bad behavior comes in waves, right? The Boy was a holy terror — a terror waking up every freaking morning at 5 a.m.! — for two weeks, but then this week has been downright angelic, sleeping in and smiley and cuddly.

Amanda
13 years ago

You’ve gotta love the way daycares try to shame us into remembering to bring supplies. Patrick’s came home in a borrowed undershirt, a pink princess pullup and no pants one time. Go Me.

molly
molly
13 years ago

I give you props that he is drinking milk from a sippy cup. My kids firmly believe (almost 3 and 14 months) that milk must only ever be served in a bottle and, not only that, it must be warmed first. Yes, yes – I know – just throw the bottles out of the house – simple solution. I’m the one that can’t give up my safety net that makes them stop crying, go back to sleep, let me have a few moments of peace before I go empty the dishwasher.

Emily
13 years ago

Dude, don’t you read the news? Your baby is totally normal: http://www.onion.demon.co.uk/theonion/other/babies/stupidbabies.htm

Pete
Pete
13 years ago

You can always tell the kids who are learning to walk by the injuries on their head.

ellipses
13 years ago

oh poor kiddo. yeah, this stage is the worst. my kids are 16 months apart, so my 3 year old little guy has to contend with a very subborn & vocal 2 year old sister. them’s some tough breaks. BUT, i can tell you that in a few months it will be easier — once dylan is able to talk you will look back wondering how you did it before. *hugs* to dylan for his owie.

Korinna
13 years ago

That t-shirt made me laugh.

Poor buddy.

Kate
13 years ago

Oh my, Linda, but I have the exact same issue with my two. My daughter is completely needy and clingy (still! at 3.5) and poor sweet older brother gets the short end of the attention stick, which is totally and completely UNFAIR because it was due to his sweetness and loveliness that made me even WANT a 2nd kid. I love them both so terribly much but find myself being monopolized by HER that HE doesn’t get the attention I so desperately want to give him.

I just keep hoping that it’ll even out someday and for now, I make an extra effort to single him out when I can. I just don’t want him to be so far UNattached to me that when and if the day ever comes that she lets me out of her sight, that he won’t want anything to do with me. It kills me when I respond to him short-temperedly because it usually has nothing to do with him, but the fact that sister has absolutely drained me.

In fact, I think I’ll go tell him right now how special he is and how much I love him.

Linda
Linda
13 years ago

My first boy was like that too. His first year, he was a perfect angel. I am not kidding, 12 months and a day later? Terror.

Anonymous
Anonymous
13 years ago

Yikes! I gasped outl oud at that first picture, and then this flashed into my head:
http://www.matazone.co.uk/animpages/feed-the-nine-mouthed-baby-game.html

You’ll power through, Sundry, you’re a great mom.

Swiggy
13 years ago

Bad Shelfy! Bad! Shelfy, go to your room – we don’t hurt our brothers.

There, that’s better.

Deanna
Deanna
13 years ago

The shirt! OMG!! The bow is the kiker!! *whew* I am out of breath from laughing and laughed so hard I cried and almost woke the sleeping toddler. Ahhh- I needed that.

Katie
Katie
13 years ago

Oh, poor Dylan’s nose! But they do heal quickly! Hope it’s better soon!

Also, I understand the older sibling/younger sibling issues quite well! My boys are 18 months apart and while my almost 4 year old is ready for Lego’s and puzzles and markers, little brother has mastered opening all locked drawers/closets and is the reason we can’t allow big bro to have the desired toys! What is it with kids and trying to cram all small items into their pie-hole? Please let my little guy decide to quit taste testing everything in site!

Swistle
13 years ago

What makes ME feel blessed is knowing that memory is pretty sketchy before age 5.

biscuit
biscuit
13 years ago

maggie is the same age as dylan + she is going through the same douche baggish/kamikaze stage. I’m ready to rip my hair out. with my husband in iraq + family members an hour away, I tend to stick her in the jumperoo when I need my sanity. yes, she is too big for it now but it CONTAINS her.

is dylan slapping you in the face + screaming “NO!” yet? man, that is some fun shit too. I hate to see what the Terrible 2s bring.

I now know why the Bubble Boy story came about.

heather
13 years ago

thank you for making me feel normal. i was checking your blog to “take a break” from my insanity and your subject today was just what i needed. wouldn’t it suck if we thought we were all alone in this? anyway – thank you for putting my thoughts into words…it’s much easier to let go of and move on!

Marin
13 years ago

That shirt is really the be all end all in awesomeness. Just had to pass it on.

victoria
victoria
13 years ago

Oh, god. Why can’t you just lock him up in the baby jail (playpen or whatever you call it) and leave him there until he develops better judgment? I think my parents did that with me during the stages of mobility-without-judgment and it seemed to have worked out all right.

Nicki
Nicki
13 years ago

Seriously, I know you feel like you are failing, but one look at your little guys and you know you are doing just fine. Kids are hard, really, really, really hard, especially when they are clingy/needy/high maintenance. I know it’s trite and all, but the phrase “this too shall pass” really is true. My grandmother had 8 kids and she was very fond of that saying, which is probably why they all survived. Just saying..8 of them. Take heart, judging from the comments, you are definitely not alone, and it will get better. Also, that is by far the best shirt ever to come home from the daycare clothes stash. My boys never got anything that cool when I had forgotten, again, to bring something in, although they did get a lot of purple clothes, go figure.

Craig
Craig
13 years ago

For me, the father of an almost 3-year old boy and with baby number two on the way, your blog sometime reads like a Clive Barker horror novel vision of my future, albeit with more zerberts, laughter and (somewhat surprisingly) bodily fluids.

Sara
Sara
13 years ago

Okay, so I read all the time. But seriously. That last picture??? You have a BOY in your house. A boy. What happened to baby Riley? His legs are SO long, and his butt so buttish and oh my goodness he’s a boy.

Seriously, how did that happen?

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

You sucked the thoughts right out of my head! My oldest is almost 7, but I remember that phase of feeding/soothing/diaper changing all while a 3yo clung to my leg vying for attention. I felt like a total failure………but they survived. Still seems unbalance as now the younger one is vying for attention while doing homework with the older. I think the love part is the balancing part. And thought of you last night when i saw a video game advertisement for some zombie attack thing. I could totally see you rivoted to the screen blasting zombies away one by one!

Melissa
Melissa
13 years ago

Well – at least the cut on Dylan’s nose makes him look like a tough guy. My daughter slammed her head on our entertainment shelf and it’s just not pretty. I feel the same way about kind of ignoring my 3 yr old to attend to the deathwish baby. And totally have been losing patience left and right. So glad I’m not alone. Lately, I have been finding myself acting like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde….I told you to throw your juicebox in the garbage…Do It Now! to Momma loves you, You know that right? Well hope you guys have a good weekend! :)

Kim S.
Kim S.
13 years ago

Oh, I’m right there with you sister. My twins are 21 months old and for the past forever I’ve been wishing and hoping for them to hurry up and turn four already. The constant falling and crying and owies and tantrums and night terrors and bitchslapping each other around have driven me to my trusty bag of chocolate chips, downing them in the hope to dull the pain.

And then two seconds later I think, “Damn, those kids are cute. Nom nom nom.” Isn’t there medication for that?

Aunt Linda
13 years ago

How rich and stupidly blessed they are to have you as a mother. AL

Shawna
Shawna
13 years ago

My GOD that cut on Dylan’s nose gave me the heebs! As someone with a boy who just learned to crawl, you managed to scare the pants off me when contemplating the dangers around our house. Our entertainment unit is looking mighty lethal right about now.

Jean
Jean
13 years ago

I’m so sorry to ignore all the serious and frustrating issues, but I can’t help it: that shirt is hilarious. I cannot believe they sent him home in that. HAHAHA

Abigail
13 years ago

Ow on his poor little nose! That shirt though–that’s a great one! Keep that picture for graduation! :)

tiinalee
tiinalee
13 years ago

thank god for you and this blog—my kids are similarly spaced as yours and i really needed this post…my mommy guilt has been out of hand lately due to my short-temperedness and inability to hold it all together. knowing i’m not alone and/or normal is a load-off. thanks :)

Lesley
Lesley
13 years ago

Dylan is like the proverbial bull in the china shop, only he’s both bull and china.

Short of padding the house and every object in it until it resembles a bouncy castle, accidents are bound to happen; and moms don’t have eyes in the back or the sides of their heads so… Well, except for those perfect Parent Dish moms who never exercise because [insert lame ass convenient excuse involving children]. :)

Most important thing you said: your kids know you love them and you’re there for them. That’s what counts.

(When he’s older he’ll be swinging off of Everest or scuba diving with this dad and you’ll be wringing your hands with worry then too.)

Michele
13 years ago

And then fast forward ten years–the oldest is in middle school and you spend 80% of your time helping him navigate the studying of quizzes and tests and organization, completely ignoring the other two boys in the process (I have a middle son Riley, btw).

Alyson
13 years ago

What Dylan is experiencing is flat out frustration. His brain is working on a higher plane than his body is right now. He can figure out how things should work in his life, but he can’t make them do what he wants to. As a result, blind-screaming (literally) frustration. But you’re right, he is a bit ahead of the curve, age-wise. Patience, dear…..this too will pass. Soon enough they are teenagers, and then you REALLY have stuff to worry about.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Oh my god – I just laughed out loud at that stupid big sister shirt! My daughter used to come back home from daycare with these crazy hair styles. I have no idea what went on there. Hmm…

I hear ya about babies being wonder, yet sons-of-bitches at the same time. Good thing they’re so cute, eh?

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

By wonder above, I mean wonderful. FAIL.

Gleemonex
13 years ago

Working from home. Got shit ta DO, had to sort of nod-and-mm-hmm the the 18-month-old for awhile. Looked over this afternoon to see a giant grin stuffed completely full of a thousand nuggets of washable purple Crayola. OH THE TRAGEDY that I wouldn’t let her finish eating it! OH THE HUMANITY! WEEPING AND RENDING OF GARMENTS! And but I had to get back to the working, for the paying of the bills, so — quick kiss, dry tears, hand her something else she’s not supposed to have, repeat. This gig was lots easier when she was larval, though less interactively fun … and people want me to do it AGAIN? Jesus H. Christ in a sidecar drinking tequila.

Just thought I’d share.

Moose
13 years ago

As someone who’s not a parent, I feel like a jackass asking this, but…(notice that doesn’t stop me)…(true jackassery can’t be quelled)…are kids like cars? You flip out over the first ding, but subsequent dents make you cringe and try to fix it with a hammer, but aren’t as heart-stopping? No? Yeah, probably not. I can’t imagine my spleen NOT dropping into my ankles if my kid was bloody, whether he was 6 months or 60 years.

So I am a jackass. Good to know for sure.

Clover
Clover
13 years ago

My baby girl is days younger than Dylan and, I kid you not, last Wednesday on her big birthday she transformed into this wailing, screaming, tantruming, bath hating, head flinging, face down on the floor kicking, crazy beast of a child! WTF?!
I found myself taking her outside in that hail we had on Tuesday with a wet head and bare feet just *hoping* it would appease her for a moment – pneumonia shneumonia

Aardvark
13 years ago

Ummm I can’t believe that no one else has commented on the subliminal messaging going on in the picture… I couldn’t even focus on the big sister big bow because my eyes kept being drawn to the classic hypnotic swirl pattern you strategically placed on your shirt… (or maybe I am just a total perv)

Helen
13 years ago

My 19 year old almost had me smashing my head into the furniture last night….what? That didn’t help? At least when they are little you can squish them and stare at them while they sleep and somehow it all seems perfect again. With teenagers you ….where’s that damned table I need to smash my head into it!

danielle
danielle
13 years ago

Just think of this emotional time as practice for the teenage years. Completely nonsensical and unpredictable!

And when he’s 15 and is so angry that you won’t let him wear an concert t-shirt to school you can just show him that photo and warn him about what happens to boys who complain about what they’re wearing. (pardon the run-on)

Elaine at Lipstickdaily

I so sympathize . . . except mine went through that stage at the age of 3. Hang in there!

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

I have a postcard of a Rembrandt sketch called “Two Women Teaching a Child to Walk”. http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/rmbrndt_1636-1654/child_learning.htm

It shows two women guiding a toddler along. One of the reasons I love the picture is that the kid is wearing what I can only describe as an honest-to-god FENDER around its head, apparently made of wrapped cloth. Clearly head-bonking has a long tradition, and somehow most kids make it through that stage. I find it sort of a comforting thought.

Heather
Heather
13 years ago

Hi Linda –

Love your blog. I have a 4 year old and a 6 month old, and we are so comically and depressingly on the same page.

Just wanted to tell you that the big sister picture made my week. Laughed so hard that I decided not to kill my children today, so thanks.

P.S. totally kidding about killing my children. but only sort of.

patois
13 years ago

Another day down, more to follow. It sounds like you’re hanging in just fine.